Justification: who cares?


#1

Even though I have been back in the Catholic Church for about 18 months now, I still don’t fully understand the Church’s teaching on justification. But the cool thing is, it doesn’t matter. I really don’t need to know exactly what it is that justifies me, so long as I have faith in Christ and I am obedient to God’s commandments. Let me now, for the sake of discussion, give a naive description of the way Protestants and Catholics say we are justified:
[list]
*]Protestants: we are justified by faith alone.
*]Catholics: we are justified by faith, hope and charity (love or good works).
[/list]
Like I said, I don’t really understand the particulars of the Catholic teaching, and the Protestant teaching seems to vary widely. But this is not a thread on how we are justified.

Instead, my question is this: why does it matter to the Protestant that I believe I am justified by faith, hope and charity? A lot of Protestants I know would tell me that I am doomed because I am Catholic and because I believe in the Catholic “additions”. But according to their own theology, why should that matter? I firmly believe in Christ, and so by their own theology, that should mean I am justified! I once asked this question in a Protestant forum and never received a satisfactory answer:
Must I understand that I am justified by faith alone in order to be justified?
I think the reason I didn’t get a satisfactory answer is because if the Protestant were to answer “yes”, then that means that we’re no longer justified by faith alone. But if the Protestant were to answer “no”, then that means that all Catholics are justified according to the Protestant theology!

BIG RED DISCLAIMER:
This thread is aimed only at those Protestants that think along the lines of those described in this thread (ie that I am doomed by being a faithful Catholic). By no means am I trying to group all Protestants together, and I understand perfectly that there are many many Protestants that do not follow this reasoning. This thread is not aimed at those people.


#2

BIG RED DISCLAIMER:
This thread is aimed only at those Protestants that think along the lines of those described in this thread (ie that I am doomed by being a faithful Catholic). By no means am I trying to group all Protestants together, and I understand perfectly that there are many many Protestants that do not follow this reasoning. This thread is not aimed at those people.

Without faith there is no hope and the is no chartiy (love]
Without faith it is impossible to please God ’

forever Baptist
allischalmers


#3

Without faith there is no hope and the is no chartiy (love]
Without faith it is impossible to please God ’

forever Baptist
allischalmers

Faith cannot do it alone. We as Christians must have good works with faith. As Paul said, “Faith without good works is dead.”


#4

Yes, but Catholics have faith; that is my point.


#5

So, you’ll be a Baptist in heaven?

I used to be a Baptist till I studied the Bible in context. Till I read the Church fathers, till I found all the condradictions in the Baptist opinions (you call it faith), till I tried to prove Catholic Dogma wrong, etc…

You follow the Baptists’ , I’ll follow Jesus.

"FOREVER EX-Baptist!!"
And proud of it! Praise God!

Malachi4U


#6

I think we’re actually saved by grace, aren’t we?


#7

Of course we are. I was taking that for granted.


#8

Those who are doubtful about the place of good works in the plan of Redemption should read the Epistle of St. James, Chanter 2:

(14)“What will it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but does not have works? Can the faith save him?”(17)“So faith too, unless it has works, is dead in itself.”(18)“But someone will say, ‘Thou hast faith, and I have works. Show me thy faith without works, and I, from my works, will show thee my faith’.”(20)“But dost thou want to know, O senseless man, that faith without works is useless?”(24)“You see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”(26)"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith also without works is dead."Likewise, in I Corinthians 13:2

“And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, yet do not have charity, I am nothing.” Therefore, although a man is not SAVED by works, yet works are pleasing in the sight of God, and HAVE VALUE since they are done for Him. They thus help the individual to preserve in the state of grace or friendship with God.


#9

Malachi, I need you to talk to my two daughter both Baptists,your post did get a smile on my face,Thank You. I’m still praying.


#10

One has to focus on how they define the term “faith”. Catholics define it as believing, trusting and obeying God. Protestants define it as mere mental assent (belief only). Obedience doesn’t seem to play a role with the “faith alone” doctrine until AFTER a person is “saved”. Obedience in “faith alone” doctrine is linked to sanctification only. Catholics see obedience as part of our justification.
If you define “faith” as belief, trust, and obedience to God, then you could correctly say that Catholics are saved by faith alone. But this isn’t how Protestants understand sola fide.


#11

I believe that some Protestants would understand sola fide that way, and some would understand it as a mental assent only. It just depends on who you ask. However, I think you’ve missed the point of my post.


#12

This whole dilemma is due to Paul. The message of Jesus is not that complicated. But when you leave Jesus and go to Paul, you are lost in Paul’s misery. I recommend you to read James as he is well aware that proper conduct can only come about with an authentic commitment to God in faith. Many rightly think James was seeking to correct a misunderstanding of Paul’s view:

James 2: 14 - 26
**What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,

and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.

You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.

Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?

You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.

Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God.”

See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?

For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead**

See, how James is very clear, straight forward and compatible with Jesus’ clear message and Paul is not clear even in the basics of Jesus’ teachings?


#13

Let me quote something from my original post. I’ll make it a bit bigger and bold, because some people seem to be missing it:

But this is not a thread on how we are justified.

The message of this thread of mine is very simple. Most Protestants are adamant that we are justified by faith alone - whatever that means (and I really don’t care exactly what it means, for the purpose of this thread). Therefore the point of this thread is to say that it is inconsistent to hold this view while then saying that Catholics aren’t justified, as Catholics say you are justified by faith, hope and works (or something like that). But for a Catholic to be justified, he must have faith, therefore he must be justified under Protestant theology!


#14

I very much appreciate the Big Red Disclaimer.


#15

:slight_smile:


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